I got into advertising (my career for over 20 years) not by choice.
Uprooted from home base for almost five years (I was in the US for school, then work), I came back to everything new. Tony and I got married within the month, and took residence in Manila.
A totally different world! I had a new surname, a new home in a city, new neighbors, a new roommate, and new responsibilities.
My new husband envisioned me to be a full-time housewife, waiting for him to come home from work, with the house all tidied up, and the food warmed.
I was a miscast.
Seeing me so bored after two months, he suggested that I applied for a teaching job. So I sent out a dozen resumes to different schools. Not one replied.
On our 5th month, I was a certified kitchen fiasco. Housework refrigerated my brain.
So then he had this brilliant idea, "You love to write, right?"
He said he’d recommend me to Lyle Little, the American CEO of then the largest ad agency in the world. Grace, I said silently.
Lyle made me go through a battery of tests, after which I was hired. More grace.
I had no idea what the job entailed, except that it had something to do with writing.
On my first day, my boss asked me to write a five-minute story about a fertilizer. After poring over piles of references, I had a story.
"Excellent!” my boss said. “Now, prune it down to two minutes without losing your creativity and the information.”
"You're kidding me!" I laughed.
"Nope, that's copy writing," he grinned.
After another hour, I had my magnum opus. Why, I actually enjoyed the exercise!
"Excellent!" my boss said it again. "Now, chop it down further into a 30-second radio commercial."
"Thirty seconds?!" I screeched, thinking it was mission impossible. But I was excited to try it.
"Excellent!" he said for the third time.
On day one, I got my job description down pat. simply, you don't understand it well enough."
That, in essence, was my first lesson in advertising.
Then, after leaving advertising, that was my first rule in writing books about grace.